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Green Day and The Enlightment Period

Posted November 4, 2009 12:50 am (about 1822 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua I recently used this video in a World History class to see if students could apply themes we studied. This video deals with the idea of religion versus spirituality. While the majority of my teaching is standards based, I also like to work in these types of activities to keep things interesting and see if students are making connections. Read article

Black History Trivia

Posted March 7, 2009 2:18 am (about 2064 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua February's already passed, but since Black history is year round you can use this any time. While it's hardly all inclusive, I did try to make it global. There's a bit of California leaning, but since that's where I teach I had to represent for the home team! Read article

Brenda's Got a Baby: A Look at Teenage Prostitution

Posted November 25, 2008 1:59 am (about 2166 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Using Tupac Shakur's "Brenda's Got a Baby" to examine the beliefs, causes, and solutions to female exploitation. I've used this video in a number of ways, in a number of setting, all with good results. This particular version appeared in The Hip Hop Education Guidebook: Volume 1 and portions of this lesson in action can be seen in the documentary Reading Between the Rhymes.

On page two I include some discussion questions I've used at times. Other popular songs that addresses similar topics are Runaway Love by Ludacris and "Girlfriend Sistagirl" by Mystic. Read article

Ise Lyfe Impresses in the Classroom

Posted November 21, 2008 1:40 am (about 2170 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Earlier this week my school, Oakland Unity High School was fortunate to have hip-hop artist and educator Ise Lyfe present. Beyond his performance ability, one reason we hoped to have him come in was his skill as an educator. Too often, even the most conscious of performers aren't good in the classroom. They're good at entertaining, yet not always good at actually educating. From our past discussions, it was obvious that Ise had experience working with youth and respected school policies and goals. In some cases, artists feel that they should swear in the name of "keeping it real" or "relating to the kids," smell like weed, or talk about totally inappropriate subjects. Ise isn't scared to address controversial topics, yet knows HOW to do it. You can talk about nearly anything when presented properly. Read article

Def Prof Picks: Hip Hop and Education

Posted July 26, 2008 12:52 am (about 2288 days ago)

By Dawn Elissa Fischer San Francisco State University professor gives her recommendations for hip-hop related education resources. Read article

Bridging the Gap: Hip Hop and Techno's Shared Activist Roots

Posted July 16, 2008 4:10 pm (about 2298 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua A Power Point presentation I recently did at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Summer Teacher Institute. Please feel free to leave comments or feedback. I'm hardly the expert and just shared what worked well for me. I'm always looking to exchange ideas. Apologies for the cheesy title. I had writer's block and a deadline, blah, blah, blah. Read article

Hip Hop High

Posted December 14, 2007 11:12 pm (about 2512 days ago)

By Eric Hellweg The musical language of the street has new fans: teachers, who are using it as a classroom tool. A feature article in the August 2005 edition of the George Lucas Foundation's magazine Edutopia. On a side note, the intro says that we're new fans of hip hop. The thing is, hip hop is old enough that many of us teachers were fans before we were even able to be teachers! All images taken by Noah Webb. Read article

Oakland high school students share impressions of Japan

Posted July 14, 2007 5:38 pm (about 2666 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua The following are responses to an interview from Japan by some of my students at Oakland Unity High School in California. They were asked to reflect on points that they could relate to or found interesting as the interview covered a range of topics, including immigration and the status of women. Note that this was just one assignment and students were exposed to a variety of perspectives. For example, after reading this interview many felt that Japan was a great place for immigrants. However, they later had readings by non-Japanese who had less than pleasant things to say about their stay in Japan. Some of the facts are incorrect, yet these comments capture a moment, as well as give some insight into the thoughts of Oakland youth on similarities and differences between two seemingly disparate countries and cultures.

One thing that I took away from this assignment was a reminder of how influenced people can be by so little. This was one interview, with one person, yet many of the students based their whole impression of Japan off of it. It’s a good reminder of the power of adults and teachers and why we have to be so aware of what information we use and how we use it. Read article

Letters to 'Mad Mike' Banks

Posted February 24, 2007 6:47 pm (about 2806 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Students in the music and social justice class at my high school in Oakland recently did a unit with a techno focus. Among other things, they watched a documentary featuring Underground Resistance founder "Mad Mike" Banks and read a recent interview with him. As one assignment they wrote letters to Banks in response to this interview. Here are some letters with more on the way! Hopefully I'll be posting Mike's response as well. Read article

Techno Research Project

Posted January 25, 2007 1:12 am (about 2836 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This was a recent project assigned to a high school music class that I teach. It's very Detroit biased, but that's more due to my ignorance and time constraints rather than maliciousness. Students were free to do research on groups, organizations, producers, etc, not on this list and we brain-stormed other ideas. Nonetheless, it was fun to watch students in Oakland, CA download Detroit Jit videos and ask me if I knew "Mad Mike" Bank's e-mail address. BTW, we did lots of prep for this project, including watching videos, breaking down tracks, etc. I teach the lecture portion of the class and the lab (studio) portion is run by my fellow teacher Mr. Castillo, aka DJ Chango'. While researching for this project the students were also responsible for creating their own techno tracks using Garage Band. Advanced students use other software such as Reason. There's some good stuff being created! Read article

Music and Social Justice Writing Prompts

Posted December 3, 2006 2:51 am (about 2889 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This was a recent assigment I gave over the Thanksgiving holidays. It's pretty basic, but students enjoyed it. As time permits, I'll post student work. BTW, for some of those films we only watched clips. Our class wouldn't last very long if it was free-for-all! Read article

Hip Hop in the Classroom

Posted June 9, 2006 12:28 am (about 3066 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Thoughts and tips on using hip hop to teach teens. (Revised 6.5.06) Read article

Brown Berets Internet Research

Posted April 14, 2006 9:03 pm (about 3122 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua My teaching has a not so subtle social justice/social movement tone so we spend a lot of time analyzing power dynamics between individuals and groups in society. One of the groups that we've been discussing quite a bit is the Brown Berets, a Chicano community group whose goals include educational attainment and economic empowerment. With all of these groups we look at their strengths and weaknesses. For this past spring break I wanted my 9th grade Ethnic Studies to do some reading, do some internet research, and do some reflecting. As you read through the questions, keep in mind that some are time sensitive and you or your students may not be able to find the answers by the time you read this. When you cut and paste, you obviously have to space things out. I divided it into four pages as this is what worked for me once I left adequate space for each question. The backslash and number at the bottom represents the total number of points for that partcular page. Read article

Unity High DJ Project CD 3

Posted March 30, 2006 8:25 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This is a compilation CD that I put together for The Unity High School DJ Project, an afterschool program that I work with in East Oakland, CA. Among other things, the high school students who participate record their own songs, including the beats and vocals, to contribute to a compliation CD featuring other youth in Oakland. Each week my co-teacher and I give students a CD and we discuss their thoughts about various tracks. The idea for this CD is to expose the participants to a wide range of music and to develop their analytical skills. My co-teacher and I alternate weeks in terms of selecting songs. This was one of my weeks, obviously (smile). Read article

Unity High DJ Project CD 2

Posted March 30, 2006 8:24 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This is a compilation CD that I put together for The Unity High School DJ Project, an afterschool program that I work with in East Oakland, CA. Among other things, the high school students who participate record their own songs, including the beats and vocals, to contribute to a compliation CD featuring other youth in Oakland. Each week my co-teacher and I give students a CD and we discuss their thoughts about various tracks. The idea for this CD is to expose the participants to a wide range of music and to develop their analytical skills. Read article

Hip Hop Education Resources

Posted March 30, 2006 8:22 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua While this is obviously not a comprehensive list, this listing should help you get started in generating ideas. Please keep in mind that hip hop is very complex and just like someone who watches Roots doesn’t become an expert on the "African-American experience," merely reading a few books, listening to a few CDs, and appropriating some slang doesn’t make one a hip-hop expert or make up for poor teaching or a lack of healthy relationships with students. Hip hop is merely another tool to enhance the education process. Our best resource is one another...students, educators, artists, etc. Read article

Hip Hop Geography Lesson (U.S.)

Posted March 30, 2006 8:13 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua An exercise I used to show the global influence of hip hop and as a way to engage students about historical and cultural facts. The students worked in groups and really enjoyed this activity. The students who knew a lot about hip hop could contribute if their academic skills were weaker and the students who weren't big hip hop fans could contribute if they were stronger in the academic areas. Fortunately, all of my students fell in either or both of these categories. After identifying the location, they needed to identify it on a map. Numerous discussion arose from information that was listed in this activity. Please note that these questions should be updated from time to time to keep the info relevant as new artists come out everyday. For example, I changed number 4 to Kanye West from Da Brat as he's much more popular at the moment. See the key on page 2. Read article

Mexican Trivia Game

Posted March 30, 2006 8:10 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua UPDATED-2008. (Remember that every day is Mexican history! No need to wait until a holiday to use these.)

In honor of Mexican Independence Day, September 16th, we played trivia in my World History class. There are a mixture of questions related to Mexican and Mexican-American history. As we weren't specifically studying Mexico at the time, I used movies, music, and anything else that students were familiar with to engage them. Basically, the class was broken up into two teams and they picked the difficulty of the questions that they wanted each turn. I read the questions out loud. This activity went over well. I'm sure the taquitos and tacos we had didn't hurt. It has a California Bay Area bias so use to your discretion!-Sept. 2003 Read article

Fun With Names Brain Teaser

Posted March 30, 2006 8:08 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This is a light-hearted activity that I did in my Economics class to develop social skills and teamwork (they worked in groups) and to begin a discussion on careers. I didn't make up this idea, but I changed a lot of the answers to careers that my students were familiar with. This doesn't take up a whole lot of time, but the students enjoyed it and it kept them busy. Still, it is way too deliberate to be just "busy work." I don't know exactly know the name of the icebreaker book that I got this from as it was a photocopied page. Sorry! The answer key is on page two. Read article

Math Brain Work Activity

Posted March 30, 2006 8:06 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua There are no computations here, but I used it as an icebreaker in a math class to get students to have some fun with numbers. Furthermore, it integrated their knowledge in other areas. This also worked well in any class that I needed to fill time with. The students really enjoyed working on this. I didn't invent this activity and the intro paragraph includes instructions written by someone else. However, when I first used this activity, it was for use in my classes, not necessarily to post on the internet so I didn't write down my source. So, if you see your words in this intro, let me know! I take responsibility for any qualms anyone has about problems 2-12 as those did come from my warped brain. The key is on page 2. Read article

Rappers Are Millionaires Exercise

Posted March 30, 2006 8:02 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This supplemental activity was designed to get students to address various topics as related to microeconomics. Basically, I took an article written by Wendy Day, founder of the Rap Coalition, that breaks down a recording contract and who gets paid from an album that sells 500,000 copies. I've use it in different contexts, but students analyze constructions of "wealth" as presented in music videos, concepts such as supply and demand, monopolies, distribution, and costs of living. Page one is a lesson outline, page two is the article itself, and page three is the questions that we use. Read article

Bush Evicted

Posted March 30, 2006 7:54 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Public Housing ‘One Strike Eviction’ policy sends President Bush packing. This is a lesson I used to illustrate the use of satire as a form of social commentary via humor. The first page was the prereading handout I gave the students and under that is the article itself. Page two is the questions we used. While I acknowledge that many of the answers to the questions are painfully obvious, their purpose is to ensure that the students actually read the article. That is quite an accomplishment for many of the students I work with. Read article

3rd Eye Open "Branded"

Posted March 30, 2006 7:50 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua “Branded” is multi-layered piece by the Detroit-based spoken-word group Third Eye Open that examines capitalism, exploitation, and cooption via fashion. Essentially, the story talks about how corporate clothing lines entered the urban fashion market and how smaller, independent companies respond to this attempted takeover. Yet the underlying theme is mental and psychological colonialism of Africans by Europeans in the past and asks the listeners to examine their own actions and motivations. Below are the lyrics, while the second page is a worksheet that was handed out before students listened to the song. After the song played, they were divided into groups (they just counted off) and given the second sheet to work on in their smaller groups, which can be found on page three. Read article

J-Live "Satisfied

Posted March 30, 2006 6:15 am (about 3137 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua An overtly political song by J-Live that tackles a number of social issues. This song was used to get students to think critically about current events and how to connect their lives fit into a global context. The first page is a transcript of the song while the second is the worksheet we used. We started with the vocabulary to ensure that everyone had a better understanding of the song then discussed the questions as a group. For this particular web posting, I've also included some responses from the students themselves, as well as some answers and discussion topics. Read article

Talib Kweli

Posted March 26, 2006 11:52 pm (about 3140 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua This exercise was designed to get my students to discuss current events. As you'll read, Talib address topics as diverse as terrorism, police brutality, and the presidential election. But before we could get into a meaningful discussion I had to make sure that they understood the words in the song and had some historical context. Although they were free to discuss their own opinions, I was very deliberate about making sure we discussed how the complexities of life often lead to contradictions in our personal beliefs and to think critically about our sources of information. What biases does Talib bring to the table? How did they differ from the students' own world views? This is a heavily layered song and could've easily turned into several lessons. As time permits, I'll probably add some links to topics that are addressed in this song, as well as Talib's bio. For now, I thought that it would be beneficial for others to at least see what we're doing. The discussions went well, the students got exposed to some hip hop outside of the mainstream, and Talib gained some new fans. You have to appreciate those little victories (smile). Go to the next page to see the worksheet that we used. Read article

Intro

Posted March 26, 2006 4:25 am (about 3141 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua An ever-evolving overview of my interest in utilizing hip-hop culture. Read article

Hip Hop Geography (International)

Posted March 18, 2006 2:26 am (about 3149 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua An exercise I used to show the global influence of hip hop and as a way to engage students about historical and cultural facts. The students worked in groups and really enjoyed this activity. The students who knew a lot about hip hop could contribute if their academic skills were weaker and the students who weren't big hip hop fans could contribute if they were stronger in the academic areas. Fortunately, all of my students fell in either or both of these categories. After identifying the location, they needed to identify it on a map. Numerous discussion arose from information that was listed in this activity. Please note that these questions should be updated from time to time to keep the info relevant as new artists come out everyday. See the key on page 2. Read article

Whites Protest Fast Food

Posted March 13, 2006 11:28 am (about 3154 days ago)

By Daniel D. Zarazua Protestors call for fair distribution of fast food restaurants. This is a lesson I used to illustrate the use of satire as a form of social commentary via humor. The first page was the prereading handout I gave the students. Under that is the article. Page two is the questions we used. While I acknowledge that many of the answers to the questions are painfully obvious, their purpose is to ensure that the students actually read the article. That is quite an accomplishment for many of the students I work with. Read article